By Shepherds Chapel - http://www.shepherdschapel.com/
Christ suffered affliction; Christians will suffer affliction in this world. We are in a war with Satan. Satan knows your weaknesses. He will attack your weaknesses with affliction. You must know how to handle affliction, if you are going to serve your Father in the spiritual war. Yes, there is trouble in the world ,and as God's Word tells us the trouble will grow worse and worse. But, when you understand God's plan, you know that we have the victory over Satan and evil. Let's begin our study concerning affliction in the Book of James.
James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he received the early and latter rain.
Be patient and wait for the True Messiah to return at the second advent. Spiritually, the early and latter rains are knowledge of our Father's Word. The early rain causes a seed to germinate and sprout into a plant. The latter rain allows the plant to mature and produce fruit.
James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.(9) Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the Judge standeth before the door.
Don't murmur against your brothers and sisters. Satan already has you in his pocket, if you have tendencies to murmur. There is only One Judge. He is our Father.
James 5:10 Take ,my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. (11)Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the LORD; that the LORD is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
In the Hebrew language Job means "persecuted". Job did suffer affliction; however, in the end he received double that which he had before. Make note of this word "endure" in this last verse. Endurance is how we overcome affliction. More on that thought in a moment.
James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay,nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
Learn the Word of God and, absorb the latter rain which will allow you endure the affliction.
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.
Don't pray for the affliction to be removed. Satan will not be removed until the end of the millennium. Okay for the strength to endure affliction. Armed with the strength of God's promises and knowledge of His plan you will do just fine. There is nothing to fear. You will endure and conquer the affliction. Turn to James 4:7 with me.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
In the name of Jesus Christ the devil has no choice but to flee from you. You have power over Satan. A double minded Christian is one that just occupies a place in the pews every Sunday morning. Let a little affliction come their way Monday morning and they begin to doubt the very existence of God. If you are a double-minded Christian, the next verse applies to you.
James 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
Don't be double-minded. Be all for Christ, or not at all for Christ. You will be happy while the double-minded people will be looking for a dark cloud to walk under all of the time.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the LORD, and He shall lift you up.
What do you have to cry about? Nothing! Don't be a "poor me baby". Your Father loves you very much. Humble yourselves before Him, and He will raise you up.
James 4:11 Speak not evil one to another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.
Do you think God appreciates someone attempting to take His place as the judge? No, not one little bit. It is far better to be a doer of God's Word that to set yourself up as a judge of His Word. The latter will bring some extreme chastisement on yourself.
James 4:12 There is one Lawgiver, Who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgeth another?
There is nothing wrong with utilizing discernment when dealing with your brethren; however, be careful not to judge. Let's turn to II Timothy as we continue our study.
II Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Did Paul say to be strong in yourself? No. He said to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
II Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.(3)Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
Again, don't pray that the affliction be taken away from you. You would be a useless soldier to God in the spiritual war. Pray for the strength to endure the affliction.
II Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Your Father must come first, if you are going to be a soldier for Him. Things of this life are insignificant.
II Timothy 2:5 And is a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
No matter how hard you exercise to become a masterful soldier for God, don't expect a crown unless you stay within the law.
II Timothy 2:6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
You may think of a husbandman as a farmer. If you labour in God's garden, you may expect the reward of the first fruits. That my friend is a double portion just as Job received when he had demonstrated his faith (Job 42:10)
II Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.(8) Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel:
Paul's gospel was the Word of God. As the Word promised, Christ was raised from the dead.
II Timothy 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
Paul endured affliction even unto prison. He found strength in the Word of God which can not be bound.
II Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (11) It is a faithful saying:" For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: (12) If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us:
Some would call taking care of business with Satan suffering. I don't. I like to "take names and kick dragon". Strength and faith overcome evil.
II Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot dent Himself." (14) Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
Don't strive over the words of men. That would be a disgrace, when you have the Word of God. The words of men won't save souls. The Word of God will save souls.
II Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
How do you rightly divide God's Word? There are several questions you should answer as you study the Bible. Who is this written to? What is the subject? Which dispensation does this apply to? This is why I recommend the Companion Bible. The whole Bible is broken down into outlines, or structures that help you understand God's Word. Let's turn to Philippians as we continue our study.
Phillipians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (22) But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
Paul knew that it is better to be with Christ after we are finished with these flesh bodies.
Phillipians 1:23 For I am a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:(24) Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
We are here in the flesh for a reason. Always serve God, until you have accomplished the work He has established for you here on earth.
Phillipians 1:25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith; (26) That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
Now sharpen up for me.
Phillipians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;(28) And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
Make certain your conversation aligns with the gospel of Christ. There is absolutely nothing for you to fear in your enemies. Christ gave you power over all of your enemies. If they don't change their ways, it is their lot to perish, but you have the salvation of God.
Phillipians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake;
Christ was afflicted; Christians will be afflicted. The world doesn't particularly care for us. We are in a spiritual war, and there will be suffering. In conclusion, let's go to the book of Matthew.
Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My names sake.
It would be spiritual death for the elect to bend a knee before antichrist. Those of you with eyes to see and ears to hear know that your purpose is to be delivered up and affliction goes along with that. Don't ever pray for the affliction to be removed. Pray for the strength to endure the affliction. God will always give the elect what they need to accomplish His will.
In His Service,